A writer's tale of living and working in the country.

Month: August 2013

Turning Boys into Men

“No, you cannot put a bowl full of cereal in the dishwasher.”
“Yes, you have to touch the toilet to clean it.”
“No, shoving your clean clothes under your bed is not the same as putting them away.”

These are just a few of the ridiculous phrases that have slipped from my lips this summer. Why?
It’s the season of turning boys into men, slackers into helpers, and mooches into producers. Also known as: my mom is the meanest mom in the world teach the boys to do Mom’s chores just like she would do them.
The worst thing about teaching someone else to do your work? It takes 45 times longer than if you just did it yourself.Thankfully, I am waaaayyy to stubborn to give up.
And if I don’t teach them to help with the laundry I will probably die under the weight of it all.
Hubby and I have spent the last two months, painstakingly, teaching the boys to do the following:

  • laundry
  • dishes
  • dusting
  • moping
  • sweeping
  • clean the refrigerator
  • clean the cabinets
  • clean the bathrooms
  • wash the dogs
  • wash and sweep the trucks
  • weed the flower beds
  • clean the kitchen after each meal
  • check the fluids and tire pressure in the trucks
  • ensure a constant supply of iced tea
  • sweep the pool
  • weed the garden
  • water the fruit trees
  • keep grass trimmed (by hand) around the blackberry bushes
  • sanding cabinets in preparation for painting
  • prepare tomatoes for canning

What the kids don’t know? This is just a small portion of the things Hubs and I do on a daily/weekly basis. These are the things we can give them to do that won’t cause some sort of destruction when if done wrong.
The most interesting observation has been that of the boys’ personalities coming through when they read their daily list.
Oldest gives a big teenage sigh and fiddles around for two hours until forced to face his jobs. Youngest pretends he can’t read his list and therefore is not responsible for any items listed. Middle Son immediately starts working and is the first one done.
Unfortunately for Oldest and Youngest, many of their chores have to be done in tandem with Middle Son. That boy is like a Marine Drill Instructor at boot camp. The chore will be done first and done right. Forever and ever, Amen.
I may have to promote him.
Teaching someone to do your job is tougher than I imagined. Luckily, I was a housekeeper at Hampton Inn during college. This girl knows how to clean.
So when they try to distract me, I let them in on the secret: I’ve got time to make sure they get it right. They aren’t leaving the house for years.

“You guys know that you have to clean up the cleaning stuff when you are done cleaning, right? Right? Hello?”


Dinner Rescue: Homemade Brown Sugar

Ever have one of those moments when you are smack in the middle of making cookies and, just after cracking the eggs into the bowl, you realize as you reach for the brown sugar that you forgot to pick some up at the store?
If you find yourself out of brown sugar, all you need to do is reach into the pantry and grab some white sugar and molasses.

I have used many brands of sugar and molasses, all work equally well.

For every 1 cup of sugar, add 1 tablespoon of molasses.

Press the mixture with a fork while turning the bowl until the molasses is well incorporated.

Keep pressing, I promise it will turn out OK.

Need light brown sugar? Add less molasses.
Want really dark brown sugar? Add more.

Who needs cookies? Just eat the brown sugar!

I no longer keep prepared brown sugar in my pantry since the home-made kind is so fluffy and flavorful!